tv Inside Washington PBS May 7, 2011 4:05am-4:35am EDT
>> production assistance for "inside washington" was provided by allbritton communications and "politico," reporting on the legislative, executive, and political arena. >> the united states has conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden, the leader of al qaeda, a terrorist responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children. >> this week on "inside washington," they got him, but it was risky business. say ourust were is prayers that everything would go according to plan. >> he was not hiding at cape
after all. how did he get away with that? >> who was living behind those 15-foot walls? >> the first republican debate. >> we cannot restore america's promise and less we have a president who keeps his promises to america. >> is it time to get out of afghanistan? >> we are told we should continue to borrow billions of dollars for nation building and afghanistan. and that's not. -- that's nuts. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- >> the story broke late sunday night, at about 10:44 p.m., blackberrys and iphones started buzzing all over washington. president obama was about to make a statement. this is washington, it is impossible to keep a secret, so
soon it broke that president obama was about to announce that osama bin laden was about to be killed. finally, a somber president obama appeared on television. >> today, at my direction, the united states launched a targeted operation against that compound in abbottabad, pakistan a small team of americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. no americans were harmed. they took care to avoid civilian casualties. after a firefight, they killed osama bin laden and took custody of his body. >> the hunt for bin laden began after 9/11. >> i can hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people -- [applause] the people would talk to these buildings down will hear all of us soon -- who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.
>> on thursday, the president visited ground zero. our colleague charles camara said "the operation was made possible precisely by the -- our colleague charles krauthammer are set up what the operation was made possible by the infrastructure of in place by the bush administration." maureen dowd said it, but " no wonder they call him a cool hand luke." evan, how did they pull this off? >> have gotten good at targeted killings. charles has a point here. whether it was necessary to have this multi-trillion dollar whatever is a different question, but in the narrows cents, we got good at telling people and we got him. >> cool hand luke, bush infrastructure, colby. >> cool hand luke oh, yes. bush infrastructure, a sort of yes.
when obama took office, he told the on panetta that the priority was to get osama bin laden. that had lagged over the years. the actual intelligence work being done a day after day for the last two and half years. >> how did they do it without word leaking advance, nina? >> it very few people knew. that is one that think this is as top-secret as it can get -- that is one thing. this was as top-secret as it can get. a lot of people deserve credit. the bush administration deserves credit, the clinton administration deserves credit. this infrastructure grow over time, but the president made a spectacular and gutsy choices, including to bring an extra helicopter so it would not turn
now like carter. that turned out to be important. >> mark? >> no more professor-in-chief instead of commander in chief, no more nuanced and cerebral. norman schwarzkopf said it is not the courage to -- it does not take courage to send troops into battle. the decision of the week was to not make available the photographs, despite the demands and importuning out a so many people. that is where he showed real leadership. >> even al qaeda admitted he is dead. what if the operation had failed, colby? >> think of jimmy carter and rescue attempt at they made. it is hard to imagine the consequences being anything
other than disastrous for him. that is another reason he deserves great credit, because they took a real risk of their. they were not 100% certain that bin laden was there, according to leon panetta. 60-80% sure, but they did not have an eyewitness spotting of thim. >> let me quote charles krauthammer, who was off this week. "terrorists seized and subjected to interrogations, sometimes harsh and enhanced." almost immediately we heard commentators and elected officials say that it was waterboarding of khalid sheik mohammed that ultimately got them to seal team 6 and the compound. is this open to challenge? >> very much open to challenge.
this week there was a lot of intelligence people who confirmed that khalid sheik mohammed did not confirm there was any sort of courier. al-libi, the other person, did not give them anything -- he was the other water boarded person. now they say that because they did not confirm it, it was probably right. >> i keep reading these articles and it has become this theoretical, religious debate. if you believe in torture, it worked. if you don't, it didn't work. the truth, as usual, is somewhere in between. >> if this was a ticking time bomb, which is why we had to torture people, it took them years to find enough to have an operation. >> i just come back to the argument made by every military person i know of any stature or significance who argues item and
passionately against waterboarding and extraordinary whenever you want to call it -- torture, simply because not only the information is not being reliable, but also the consequences for american troops in the field. your question about why no leak? the best my reporting has come up with is 16 members of congress were informed of this, and i did, which was brilliant, was seated them -- and what leon panetta did, which was billion, -- was brilliant, was to them one at time. >> 16 members of congress kept their mouths shut -- >> how long? >> at least the last year. >> how did this guy hide in a huge compound away from pakistan's west point? >> was there any level of curiosity?
how could bin laden ligone undetected living next door to pakistan's westbound? >> that is john kerry. excellent question, colby. >> it is also important to think of pakistan and what it represents. it is not a solid government. it is a fractured government. clearly they had reasons to think he might be there, but a number people would not have known. they did not know that the cia was there in a safe house monitoring the situation. pakistan -- you take the intelligence service, the i guess -- the isi, which is supposed to align with the taliban. i'm sure the central intelligence agency has sources within the isi as well, as it does with al qaeda and the taliban.
it is not a cohesive government. >> the pakistani army wants the united states against another violation of pakistan's sovereignty, and the top general says he will reduce the number of american personnel in pakistan to. -- to a minimum. >> that is for domestic consumption. what can he say, ", anytime"? he has to say that. >> they need our money. if they did not have nuclear weapons and we did not have billions of dollars, this would not happen at all. we will have this an awkward dance into the future. >> we will stay married for the sake of the kids. >> plus, they cannot take us out. >> the question -- i have no idea the answer -- were they complicit? the fact that osama bin laden had so little security in the compound itself suggested he had
security or leased ideal outside the compound, that he did not feel threatened. >> i want to call your attention to something. october 3, 2008, christiane amanpour, now with abc news, was a bearing on "-- was appearing on "real time with bill maher," saying she was talking to a source who said that osama bin laden was in a comfortable villa. >> a year ago, eric holder appeared before a congressional committee, and some senators said to him, and he said, "we are going to capture him." some senators said, "you will give him a miranda rights," said that if "we get him -- and eric holder said it "if we get him, we will give miranda rights to
record." -- to a court." >> you have to give president -- you have to give credit to the president was there, who made the call, but not only lives at risk, but his own political fortune at risk. by my reckoning, mitt romney did in his statement, so did tim pawlenty, former governor of minnesota. mrs. palin did not, mr. gingrich did not, surprising to me, mr. huckaby did not. mitch daniels did -- >> dick cheney did. >> the base of your party does not want to give credit to the president of the other party at any time. the one to say that it george bush even cared about his daughter -- you don't want to say george bush even cared about his daughter or his wife. so a certain maturity on the part of romney and pawlenty and
daniels. >> i the lack of character on the part of palin -- >> and newt. >> if the bad guys were in pakistan and yemen and elsewhere, why are we still in afghanistan? >> this is the longest war in our history. there is no end in cite. to make it worse, we're not even paying for the war. it is on the national credit card. over $100 billion a year, it $2 billion each week. >> that is congressman jim mcgovern of massachusetts, a democrat who, along with republican congressman walter jones of north carolina, has sponsored a bipartisan afghanistan exit and accountability act, which would set a firm time line for withdrawing american a couple of months ago, a poll revealed that 73% want us out this year.
>> i think they will to stay on the timetable the president has set. you have to remember why we went in and the first place, because of 9/11, the fact that the taliban was taking over the country and had a strong hold their. >> charles krauthammer her this week -- "we could never have pulled up the right without a major military presence in afghanistan. the drop-off point was jalalabad." does he have a point? >> charles always has app -- has a point. the point is missing here. you can make the case that osama bin laden it scored a major victory in what happened to this country as a result of 9/11, not simply the coarsening of our life and the lack of trust and civility, the over-the security
in our nation, the money out of our pocket from two wars that all the other results of 9/11, in reaction to, not logically or historically valid. in that sense, jimmy mcgovern and walter jones, the two congress members pushing this, deserve support. i think the popular support for the war in afghanistan -- >> you could have done all this without nation building. you could have had a military presence in afghanistan. you don't have to do endless counterinsurgency -- >> but take his part about the bases and so forth. >> remember when we were debating what to do, biden said we could do the military stop and targeted killing with a smaller base. we don't need to be trying to build afghanistan -- >> i suspect we will have a summer, a fairly active summer.
i don't know if we can actually make progress. summer is one of the real war happens. after that, obama is on a pretty short leash about actually getting troops out because of popular support will erode enormously. it is higher at the moment but it will last for long -- will not last long. >> petraeus, mr. counterinsurgency, is now at the cia. >> does this mean -- i had the sense last week -- that the joe biden a scenario you suggest is the one -- >> look at the personalities, i think it is possible. at the cia, what they do is find out until terrorists. -- hunt down and kill tourists. it is quite -- kill terrorists. >> to me it shows the perverse genius of richard nixon.
the reason it was not debated in the campaign up 2010 is that nobody has paid for it. only those whose loved ones are in battle. we're not paying for it in dollars, in blood, in our children. it is a terrible moral indictment of the country. >> you know who andrew bacevich is? professor, had his son died in iraq. "nothing in this in the prospect of armed conflict without end." does he have a point? >> he does. it is a little scary. i don't think that this country, for all the problems, will tolerate an endless war. . but we -- >> but we do. we have the military that as the fighting for us. >> that is what is so unfair about it. unless there is shared
sacrifice, this is an unfair situation to have so few do so much. >> by the genius of richard nixon, do you mean abolishing the draft? >> yes. there was a huge revolt in the country did abolish the draft, the threat of bodily harm, and all of a sudden is toga parties again. >> republicans held their first to debate this week a commentary on the fox news channel. former gov. gary johnson, herman cain, ceo of godfather's pizza, ron paul shared the stage with tim pawlenty. where were the others? >> they were ducking it and made a mistake, because fox news is important to nominating
process. newt gingrich lost his scholarship box, and so was present form -- his scholarship at fox, and so did rick santorum. >> it was an underwhelming group of candidates there, probably enough to spur people like huckabee if that is the field. >> i am about to ask a crass political question, but i should know that the unemployment number has inched up to 9%, not necessarily bad because they have added jobs, but the crass political question is, does the capture of osama bin laden give barack obama pushed to reelection in 2012? >> i think you will wear off, because in our fast-paced culture, nothing lasts. he will get credit for it, but not enough to re-elect him. the economy will drown this outbreak it the economy goes sour, it will be in much bigger deal.
>> i think evan is right, but there was this. republicans had been pushing that he was indecisive and cannot do anything. that is gone. >> the whole notion of being a weak leader is dispelled. they don't have the argument that he is soft on defense or military action. that is gone, but that will not get him back into the white house. >> since the great depression, no president has run for re- election successfully with 7.8% unemployment, which is what is predicted by cbo and bling burke and others -- and bloomberg and others. i don't care who emerges from the republican side. that is what we are facing. this could destroy the republican and never give as a criticism of the president --
republican narrative as a criticism of the president and establishes bonafides as making a tough decision. but it will be the economy in 2012. >> let me make one other point but there is an entire generation of people in their early 20s now who grew up osama bin laden as their taylor. -- their hitler. for them is a bigger deal than for us old fogies. >> tampering with medicare -- does this make republicans more likely to compromise on budget issues? >> i hope. >> election day is the only poll that counts. house republicans recklessly voted for the ryan plan less than a month ago and are running away from it -- >> they went home. >> are they going to run away
from it? >> they are already. they said, "this is just the beginning of the process." one of the republicans who is in deep trouble now. >> reducing the budget deficit and dealing with medicare and social security -- how is that going to play out now? >> we don't have much time to deal with these things. paul krugman was interesting this morning -- open but we of got to deal with this in two years -- "we have to deal with this in two years or terrible things will happen." if that is right, obama cannot sit on the sidelines, republicans cannot sit on the sidelines. but if it is a long, we can have the usual -- if it is wrong, we can at the usual dreary spectacle, nothing really happens, the economy just kind of lurches on. >> did you hear what jim mcgovern said? $100 billion a year, $8 billion
a month in afghanistan, national credit-card? >> that is why i think they are going to address it in the upcoming budget deal. paul ryan gave an important signal when he said it to the republicans, we are not going to get everything we want out of this deal. it is based not only on the reaction he has gotten in his own district on medicare changes, but that obama ate their lunch on this with his own proposal. now they are required to come to the table and work something out. >> pols are cowards and it will not do this until something happens in the academy. >> but they have to. the budget will force them to come to grips -- >> you still have a lot of people who say we should not increase the debt limit, absolutely at. >> -- absolutely not. >> the republicans say that the only non-negotiable thing is no
increase in taxes. that is great -- that is crazy. >> i think they can get past -- the larger question is are they going to take on the big issues -- >> i would like to be optimistic, but i see the gang of six, the once you add in fact broken the orthodoxy -- tom coburn, a republican, and dick durbin, democrat -- and they have been dropped like that had it. the white house pays no attention to them, and they won biden -- instead -- they want the biden commission. >> they are not doing it. they have not announced what they are going to -- >> family emergency -- kent conrad said he would go ahead with something and that the deal
is not of t -- off yet. >> my point is that neither the republican or democratic leadership in the congress or white house is paying heed to them that they deserve, in my judgment. >> this week over the financial reform that passed last year, overwhelmingly, republicans said that if you don't change this law, to obama, we will not appoint people to run the consumer agency. what have we come to when a law that passed by significant margins suddenly gets undermined by that kind of threat? >> this week i was reading in jimmy carter's so-called malaise speech -- he never used the word -- in 1979, and the language he used was pretty much what we say every week. >> what would you read that speech? -- why would you read that
speech? [laughter] >> he was talking about energy -- >> absolute highest in 1980 -- wasn't that a low ebb? if we are sounding like that, that is not a good sign. >> that was during a time when we had inflation, double-digit inflation -- >> we can get it again. >> on that happy note, thanks, we will see you next week. for a transcript of this broadcast, log on to insidewashington.tv.
gwen: a dramatic week in washington after the death of osama bin laden. i'm gloria borger in for gwen ifill. the implications, tonight on "washington week." >> justice has been done. >> and with that declaration, president obama announced that the world's most notorious terrorist had been killed. how did the c.i.a. get him? >> we looked at several options that were discussed by the president and by the national security team. the details behind the mission.
the team methodically cleared the compound moving from room to room in an operation lasting nearly 40 minutes. >> and an impact on an already rocky relationship with pakistan. >> we believe that that partnership is critically important to breaking the back of al-qaeda. >> and of course, the political fallout. >> it's an unmistakeable trance to our personnel. it's also a credit to our commander in chief, the present one and the former one. >> peter baker of the new york times. james kickfield of the "washington journal." and john babbington of "the "associated press"." and john babbington of "the "associated press"." >> live from our